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Unofficial Guiding in National Parks? Your Thoughts?
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By TWK
Mar 10, 2013
darin wrote:
It seems like a pretty bad idea for the general climbing community. Many other parks, private areas, etc have much easier to get through requirements for concessions and permits. With these options, the risk to reward ratio doesnt seem worth it to me. Especially if you consider the possible risk to public access. Check this article from a few weeks ago. Ive read a few articles about busts for illegal guiding, but they usually go hand in hand with hunting/poaching.

outdoornews.com/January-2013/J....
Interesting read, but not relevant. Not even any real comparisons with the different enforcement agencies involved.

That guy in the outdoornews.com link was a low-life white-trash fish-and-game violator, poaching out of season. It's not even comparing apples to oranges (or fruits to nuts) when discussing guided climbs in national parks.

It's more like, um, let me think this one through--comparing unpermitted climbing guides in national parks to poaching big game out of season on somebody else's private property.

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By David Appelhans
From Lafayette
Mar 10, 2013
Imaginate
20 kN wrote:
How is that the guide's fault? I think in most cases where pirate guiding exists, it is because the government has a monopoly on the guiding industry forcing consumers into a small tunnel, or they just dont allow guiding at all. If the government expanded guiding to allow any professional to guide, pirate guiding would not as much of an issue.


+1.

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By TWK
Mar 10, 2013
20 kN wrote:
How is that the guide's fault? I think in most cases where pirate guiding exists, it is because the government has a monopoly on the guiding industry forcing consumers into a small tunnel, or they just dont allow guiding at all. If the government expanded guiding to allow any professional to guide, pirate guiding would not as much of an issue.


Until the Park Service becomes immune from frivolous lawsuits if some moron gets hurt on a guided climb, they unfortunately need to tightly control who can do what. It's not necessarily the NPS that's the entire problem here, it's their lack of immunity from douchebag ambulance-chasers.

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 7178

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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Mar 10, 2013
TWK wrote:
Until the Park Service becomes immune from frivolous lawsuits if some moron gets hurt on a guided climb, they unfortunately need to tightly control who can do what. It's not necessarily the NPS that's the entire problem here, it's their lack of immunity from douchebag ambulance-chasers. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 7178

That may be the case in some states, but not in Yosemite. California has a very comprehensive recreational use statute that provides complete immunity for rock climbing injuries under all conditions except gross negligence.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 10, 2013
20 kN wrote:
That may be the case in some states, but not in Yosemite. California has a very comprehensive recreational use statute that provides complete immunity for rock climbing injuries under all conditions except gross negligence.


That might be relevant, but Yosemite National Park would most likely fall under Federal statutes, not state ones- especially given that the NPS is the body in charge and it is a Federal agency, not a state one. California laws may guide the courts, but I doubt they'd provide total immunity.

Pirate guiding is, imho, a good way to create access problems to climbing areas. It pisses off land managers, who in turn, dislike climbers and are not likely to create climber friendly policies.

More to the point, a guide should stand as a good steward and a good example of how to be a good climber respectful of the rock and environment. A guide who is guiding illegally does neither of these things and sets a bad example that organizations like the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and AMGA have to try and disprove to keep crags open for the rest of us.

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By Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Mar 10, 2013
Slope on a rope
As someone who works for another guiding service in Zion National park, I suggest that it's a pretty bad idea for a number of reasons:

1. The community here is really small. The wilderness rangers mostly live in town, and would probably recognize you. The ones who climb also read these forums.
2. The current high level management sees guiding within the park as a liability, rather than an asset. If the wilderness rangers/LE officers catch you, you're going to fuck up any sort of chance that there may be guiding in Zion in the future, ESPECIALLY since you work for a legitimate guide service in the town.
3. There is so much other rock and canyons around, including big walls and full day canyons, that there isn't really an excuse for it.
4. Partially the reason that guiding is not yet allowed in the park is impact. Because of this you'll still have to get a permit at the backcountry desk (see #1). Not suggesting that people would have to be rescued, but the big routes around here can be sandy, loose, etc. Not great client terrain. Also, rescues impact the area pretty hard (not saying you'd have to get rescued, just a thought).

The management in the ZNPS may be changing soon, and the climbing policy will be reviewed within the next two years. Don't jeopardize the potential to legitimize guiding around here just because your bud wants to pay you twenty bucks to sleep on a portaledge on moonlight buttress.




Hey Ethan,

For what its worth, I really appreciated your comment and wanted to say thanks. I know its not a black and white issue for everyone, but I think you made a lot of good points.

Russ

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By Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Mar 10, 2013
Slope on a rope
John Wilder wrote:
a guide should stand as a good steward and a good example of how to be a good climber respectful of the rock and environment. A guide who is guiding illegally does neither of these things and sets a bad example that organizations like the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and AMGA have to try and disprove to keep crags open for the rest of us.



Thanks

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By Captain Choss Sauce
From Durango, CO
Mar 10, 2013
Great thread guys. Its nice to see an actual discussion rather than straight bickering. My only question is what about private guiding in non-monopolized areas like state parks and national forest/BLM? I'm guessing there is some sort of permit system for that, not for illegal guiding but rather for guiding not affiliated with a particular big name company. Sorry to wander off the subject a bit but any thoughts?

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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Mar 10, 2013
Nik Mirhashemi wrote:
Great thread guys. Its nice to see an actual discussion rather than straight bickering. My only question is what about private guiding in non-monopolized areas like state parks and national forest/BLM? I'm guessing there is some sort of permit system for that, not for illegal guiding but rather for guiding not affiliated with a particular big name company. Sorry to wander off the subject a bit but any thoughts?


Well, that is the ideal scenario, whether or not the utopian dream exists, I've no idea. I know that in a lot of national forests, so long as you sign up at the beginning of the season and can show you're sufficiently insured, you're good to go. It remains problematic if you're doing a one-off, so don't put up a post on craigslist looking for clients just yet.

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By smassey
From CO
Mar 10, 2013
Nik, all federal and most state agencies have some sort of permit system. Some are really easy to get, and some (BLM red rock/indian creek) are filled, to the limits they set. If there are open permits, it's not a horrendously difficult process, though you do need liability insurance, among other things. Also a strong sense of patience... Guiding permitting is done on the local level, so you can always contact your local land manager for information. If you're interested in guiding in designated Wilderness, be prepared for even tighter regs. Recent court decisions (HSHA v. Blackwell, 2004) have placed greater emphasis on agencies intensely analyzing commercial services in wilderness.

FLAG


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